Narratology• Under this theory, “adaptationbecomes just another text.”• The story is the focus, not howthe narrative is conveyed (novel,short story, movie, etc).– Story is a “kind of genetic materialor DNA to be manifested in thebody of specific texts.”– The same story can be shared indifferent media.• This theory strips the novel of its“privileged position” and allowsthe film to “take up a legitimateplace along side” the originalwork.Reception Theory• Rather than portraying thesame “pre-existing reality,”this theory grants that “thenovel and film arecommunicative utterances,socially situated andhistorically shaped.”• In other words, Narratologyidentifies the novel and film astwo different bodies whichshare a story and Receptiontheory allows the media to beput in conversation with eachother.
• This is a novel written by Jane Austen in 1815.• An unidentified narrator follows the story ofEmma Woodhouse as she tries to gentrify herlower class companion Harriet, and ultimatelyrealizes that she is not as in control of herworld (i.e. Highbury Society’s romanticentanglements and class politics) as sheinitially thinks.
• 1996 film adaptation ofEmma, directed byDouglas McGrath.• Uses the exact story,dialogue, and cues asthe novel.• The only change is themedium of the story.– The same summary ofthe text could be appliedto the film.
The Novel:• “Why was the evil sodreadfully increased byHarriets having some hope ofa return? It darted throughher, with the speed of anarrow, that Mr. Knightley mustmarry no one but herself!”(Austen 320).• Now, if we look at the movie’stake on the same scene wesee that it is not a singularentity all its own, as Stamclaims, but a copy (save for thepronouns).The Movie:Emma(to Mrs. Weston, onher love for Mr. Knightley): Ilove him so dearly, sogreatly. Outside you andfather, his is the onlyopinion I care about. Noone must marry Mr.Knightley but me.[As shown in the next slide.]
• The 1996 adaptation of Emma reveals faults inStam’s theory.• Austen’s prose is the obvious basis for the text ofthe movie. This grants fidelity to novel, but,instead of separating the two works and allowingfor different renderings of the same story, theyoverlap.• In place of granting equal status to the filmadaptation of Emma, the overt adherence to thestory could arguably be the main failure of themovie.
• Stam, Robert. “Introduction: The Theory andPractice of Adaptation.” Literature andFilm: A Guide to the Theory and Practice ofFilm Adaptation. Ed. Robert Stam andAlessandra Raengo. Blackwell Publishing,Ltd., 2005. Print.• Austen, Jane. Emma. Ed. James Kinsley.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.Print.